Fishing Report: Week of Feb. 4 | Fishing | FresnoBee.com

Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake and who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted. Do you have a fish photo that you’d like to share online? Attach it to an email and send it to us at sports with “Fish photo” in the subject line.

Key:

* Try dynamite

** Have to work hard

*** Limits possible

**** Fish jumpin’ in boat

VALLEY

Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs

Striper ** Catfish **

In the California Aqueduct, Patrick Movey of the Fishermen’s Warehouse said, “You have to find the right headgate in order to find success as the fish are boiling on the surface in certain areas.” Best action continues below Kettleman City south into Kern County. Sales of Duo Realis jerkbaits and Lucky Craft Pointers remain steady, but have dropped since the heyday of several weeks back. Many Fresno-area ’duct anglers are heading south in search of better action. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The Aqueduct has been producing both largemouth bass and stripers with Lucky Craft Sammies or Pointers as well as Duo Realis lures as the Duos are almost as detailed as the Lucky Crafts, and they are $6 less.” Salted sardines, blood worms, and lug worms are also effective for striped bass and catfish.

Eastman Lake

Bass ** Trout ** Bluegill ** Catfish ** Crappie **

A few planted trout are taken from the shore near the day-use area with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers, but the overall bite remained slow for trout and bass. Anglers are working the lake for several hours for the occasional bass. The water is cold and murky. The area extending upstream from the buoy Line near the Cordoniz Launch is closed with bald eagles nesting in the area. There are unmarked hazards throughout the lake because of low water conditions. The lake is at 469.49 feet in elevation and 8% capacity.

Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255

Hensley Lake

Bass ** Trout ** Catfish ** Bluegill ** Crappie **

Minimal change, with few fishermen targeting the lake. Bass fishing remained very slow, with anglers reporting one or two fish for seven hours of work in the cold and murky water. Most Fresno-area fishermen are heading to Millerton or Pine Flat for more consistent action. The launch ramp is accessible for larger boats. Trout fishing from the shore remained slow. Boaters should contact the Ranger Station at the Corps of Engineers office for current launch ramp conditions. The lake is at 450.95 feet in elevation and 6% capacity.

Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151

Lake Don Pedro

Bass ** Trout ** Kokanee * King salmon * Crappie **

At Don Pedro, Bass fishing remained slow, with the best action with live minnows or finesse techniques in deep water. Drop-shotting or dartheading plastic worms at depths from 25-65 feet is working best, and there is the very occasional large fish taken on a rainbow-trout patterned swimbait on a slow roll in the deep water. The lake is very clear and cold, and trout trolling has slowed in response. The Fleming Meadows Launch has one lane open, but Blue Oaks is closed. The lake rose slightly more than a foot to 703.85 in elevation and 41% capacity.

Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011

Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area

Bass ** Trout ** Crappie ** Catfish *** Bluegill **

Lake Isabella is starting to show signs of life, with a solid catfish bite emerging. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “One angler reported landing over 70 catfish within three days using nightcrawlers or chicken livers, and he only kept two fish in the 5- to 6-pound range.” Crappie and bass action remained slow with few reports. Few bass fishermen are targeting the lake with the launch ramp requiring a four-wheenl-drive tow vehicle and the difficulty in putting a boat in the water. Boats are still able to launch from the dirt near Red’s Marina, with a four-wheel-drive vehicle advised. The 26th annual Lake Isabella Fishing Derby is March 28-30, with a payout of $18,500 for the longest trout from 1st to 10th guaranteed. Entry is $30 per individual and $65 per family. Call office. Online registration is available at www.kernrivervalley.com. The lake is at 2529.55 feet in elevation and 8% capacity. In the Kern River, trout fishing is best in the lower river around the plant zones of Hobo Gulch or Sandy Flats with spinners or salmon eggs. Smallmouth bass and catfish also are available in the lower river. The upper river is very low, and trout fishing remained slow. Buena Vista is anticipating a trout plant this week after the last one coming a few weeks back. The crappie bite is starting to pick up with live minnows. The local lakes were planted this week, and Power Bait in Chunky Cheese with garlic, green garlic or Captain America have all been popular scents.

Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812

Lake Kaweah

Bass ** Crappie *** Trout ** Catfish *

Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club reported the swimbait bite is picking up, with largemouth bass in the 6- to 7-pound range landed on occasion. The majority of bass are much smaller, and drop-shotting shad-patterned plastics, jigs, or vertically-jigged spoons, are working at depths below 40 feet. Crappie have been the top species with small minnows or minijigs over submerged structure. Only one trout plant has occurred this season, and action will remain slow until the next plant. The launch ramp is open with “no problem” launching. The lake rose slightly more than a foot and is at 609.19 feet in elevation and 14% capacity.

Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Lake Success

Bass ** Trout ** Catfish ** Crappie **

Bass action remained fair in the deeper water with Senkos, jigs or through running a deep-diving crankbait on a slow presentation. Trout fishing is slow, with another plant necessary to improve the action. The lake rose three-quarters of a foot to 583.78 in elevation and 6% capacity. The small ponds continue to be a good option for bluegill and crappie on Woolley Buggers, with the occasional bass also landed.

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, www.sequoiafishingcompany.com

McClure Reservoir

Bass ** Trout ** King salmon * Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish **

The lake continues to release water, and the only access is for small portable vessels such as kayaks or canoes from the shore. Bass tournaments scheduled for McClure are being switched to neighboring reservoirs such as Don Pedro for the spring months. All launch ramps are closed, and few fishermen are heading to the lake, which is at 586.48 feet in elevation and 6% capacity.

Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053

McSwain Reservoir

Trout **

Continued heavy releases from the bottom of Lake McClure over the past several weeks have created off-color water conditions. Bank action has been best around the handicapped docks or brush pile with garlic-scented trout dough bait. Trolling remained very slow given the water clarity.

Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Bass *** Striper ** Shad * Bluegill **

Millerton is the host for fewer events, but the bass bite is as consistent or even better than at Pine Flat. At Millerton, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported the bass are moving up into shallower water, and the numbers have been greater than at Pine Flat with limits in the 8- to 9-pound range the norm and the occasional spot to 3 pounds. Shad-patterned plastics on the darthead, or splitshot have been the top techniques in deep water. Jigs or Reapers also were working, with several stripers in the 14- to 20-pound range landed as incidental catches by bass fishermen. All boats must fill out a Quagga mussel self-inspection form, and a low-emissions sticker is necessary on all motorized craft. Millerton is rising slowly and is at 489.65 feet in elevation and 36% capacity. In the lower San Joaquin, minimal action remains the story. Regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge, allow only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead with a total of four in possession. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip.

Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass *** Crappie ** Catfish ** Trout *** Kokanee *

New Melones continues to provide solid action for bass and rainbow trout as the fish are focusing on the abundant shad schools. Gary Burns of Take It To the Limit Guide Service said, “Fishing remains good, and this week we spent our time trolling from the surface to 10 feet in depth around the dam with Uncle Larry’s Spinners tipped with a piece of nightcrawler. I have been trolling at 1.8 mph around the dam, but when we are heading upriver around the Highway 49 Bridge, we kick up our trolling speed to 2.8 mph and put on Needlefish, ExCel spoons, or Speedy Shiners in rainbow colors. Our big rainbow of the week was 20 inches in length, but we wanted to release it, so we did not get a weight.” Joey Laurens and Jason Plummer landed limits of rainbows using ExCel spoons. Laurens also released a 4.5-pound German brown trout taken on a rainbow-trout Yozuri near the Highway 49 Bridge. John Lietchy of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “Bank anglers are catching fish in a few different areas of the lake, with Glory Hole Point, Glory Hole Cove, and the Highway 49 Bridge being the top locations as the trout are roaming around in shallow water.” Using a slip-float with a bobber-stop will allow anglers to adjust their leader length above the snags in heavily covered areas. Lietchy advised using nightcrawlers, live minnows, trout dough bait or soft plastics while still fishing and fan-casting with a Kastmaster or Tasmanian Devil on a second rod. Bass fishing has been solid for numbers at depths from 35-55 feet with shad-patterned plastics. Said Lietchy: “The fish seem to be moving from deep to shallow water and back throughout the day, depending upon the weather, and the fish seem to be keying on shad.” A few large fish from 6-12 pounds have been taken on large swimbaits, but the majority of bass are found on jigs or Senkos around the shad schools. Lietchy added, “The water clarity is fairly clear, so be sure to use light line, and apply scent to your baits, continually adding scent throughout the day.” The world-record spotted bass was landed in New Melones last February, and 100 Plus Bass is holding a two-day tournament Saturday and Sunday, with 100% payback to participants. Catfishing remained slow in the cold water. The concrete ramp at Glory Hole Point is open with two lanes and a dock, but the Tuttletown Launch Ramp remains closed. The lake is at 870.72 feet in elevation and 23% capacity. Launching a boat is not a problem. Tulloch is at 500.72 feet in elevation and 82% capacity.

Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023

Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River

Kokanee * Bass *** Trout ** King salmon * Catfish ** Crappie **

Pine Flat remains tournament central in the south Valley, and most Fresno-area bass fishermen are targeting the lake. The best action remains in deep water, but the recent spring-like weather is drawing bass in shallower in the afternoons. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Limits in the 8- to 9-pound range are consistent, and there are times when a large kicker fish will bring up a limit to the 14-pound range.” The best action has been with brass ’n’ glass, split-shot, or drop-shot plastics at depths from 50-60 feet, but there are bass moving up in the afternoons into the 25-foot range. With the fish in deep water, jigs on a three-fourths to 1-ounce football head are also effective.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno added, “The bass are in the winter pattern at Pine Flat, but they may come up if the recent weather continues.” Trout fishing at Pine Flat is starting to show signs of life with bank fishermen scoring around Deer Creek with trout dough bait or nightcrawler. Trollers are locating a few planted rainbows. The lake rose slightly to 729.60 feet in elevation and 13% capacity. In the lower Kings, trout plants have occurred recently, and there has been more interest in fishing the river. Various colors of Power Bait or nightcrawlers have been effective in the low flows, and fly fishermen are targeting the rainbows in the catch-and-release section with nymphs. There are special regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam. The season is open from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit.The Army Corps of Engineers Bridge is the first one to the west of the dam.

Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626; The I Forgot Store 787-3689

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay

Striper ** Catfish ** Bass ** Crappie *

In the main lake, the striped bass bite slowed for most, with the linesides holding on the bottom at depths from 50-60 feet around the trash racks and into Portuguese Cove. Drifting jumbo or super jumbo minnows on the bottom continued to provide the greatest action for linesides to 5 pounds. Most trollers were having moderate success flatlining plugs or using downriggers. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said that the normal angler was picking up a couple of fish, but that a few very experienced anglers were doing well. “The rising water has made finding the fish problematic for most guys, but some anglers are getting over 20 fish a day once they find an active group. I was scouting the lake Saturday and had over 20 fish by noon trolling plugs on one pole from 60 to 85 feet. Some of the areas are now out in the middle of the lake, so covering ground to find fish has become important,” George said. Shore fishermen are tossing big plastic flukes or swimbaits from the access areas along Highway 152, Goosehead Point, or Dinosaur Point. Cut baits have been effective for the occasional striper. In the O’Neill Forebay, The bait bite has been the best near Check 12 and the Highway 152 Bridge with pile worms, jumbo pile worms, or frozen shad. Small swimbaits, lipless crankbaits, or Lucky Craft Pointer 100’s are working for stripers in the 16- to 18-inch range. The overall bite has slowed. The lake has risen progressively to 54%capacity with 7,969 acre-feet of Delta water. All boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes, sailboards, inflatables and float tubes must undergo a mandatory inspection for Quagga and Zebra mussels. Failure to allow inspection will result in the refusal to launch.

Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954

HIGH SIERRA

Bass Lake

Bass ** Trout *** Kokanee *

Getting on the lake early is the key to picking up a limit of planted rainbows near the surface with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler or blade/crawler combinations. The bass bite remained deep in the 30 to 40 foot range with spots to 3 pounds possible. The swimbait bite hasn’t emerged as of yet. The lake has risen to the point where a larger boat can be launched from the public dock. The lake held at 49% capacity.

Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

The Kaiser Pass Lakes are done for the winter with the exception of snowmobile trips planned for the spring months.

Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000

Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake

Kokanee * Trout ***

Shaver Lake is experiencing an early bite, with Dick Nichol’s of Dick’s Fishing Charters stating, “Fishing this week picked up a little with a limit or two per boat being the norm with the best action at 25 feet in depth with chartreuse, orange, ruby-red, or yellow beaded spinners tipped with a piece of nightcrawler near Black Rock. Fishing activity has been light, but those who fished this week reported anywhere from three fish in the boat to two limits.” Bank fishing remained slow in the higher elevation. Shaver had the occasional rainbow taken from the shore with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers near the dam or Roads 1 and 2. Kokanee expert and tackle maker Captain Jack Yandell and veteran Shaver fishing guide Dick Nichols will be featured in the Herb Bauer’s Shaver Lake fishing seminar at 6 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Herb Bauer Sporting Goods store on Blackstone just north of Bullard in Fresno. Last year’s statistics, this year’s best tips on where they are, what to use, and the overall 2015 report on Shaver will be featured. The upcoming trophy trout plant also will be discussed. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will be introducing a hybrid strain of rainbows from 3-8 pounds this spring. Donations for the increase in cost are tax deductible and checks can be sent to the project at PO Box 908, Shaver Lake 93664. At Huntington, Debby Dixon at Shaver Lake Sports reported one angler was fishing from the shore near Rancheria Creek for several rainbows and a quality brown. Shaver held at 47% capacity and Huntington at 30%.

Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740

Wishon/Courtright

Access to both lakes is over for the winter with the closure of the gate at Dinkey Creek.

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361

OCEAN

Half Moon Bay

Striper **

Rockfish season is closed until June, and local party boats will be running sand dab combinations, whale watching, or rockfish research trips. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat is conducting crab-only, sand dab/crab combination, whale watching, and research trips in the coming weeks. Further north in Pacifica, surf perch action is solid from the beaches while the occasional quality striper is taken on lures. Crabbing continues to attract fishermen soaking snares from the Pacifica Pier.

Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Striper **

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Fishing Trips out of Monterey reported excellent crab/sand dab/blue mackerel action over the weekend, with the Check Mate returning with 19 limits of crab, loads of blue mackerel, and buckets of sand dabs on Sunday to go with 22 limits of crab and similar fish scores Saturday. They are running the trips throughout the week, interest permitting, while the combination trips are routinely run on the weekends. Out of Santa Cruz, surf perch action is heating up, just in time for the 11th annual Sand Crab Perch Derby on March 14. This is an annual fundraiser for the Monterey Bay Salmon and Steelhead Project. Information is available at www.theletsgofishingradioshow.com.

Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com

San Francisco Bay

Striper *** Leopard shark *** Sturgeon **

Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported spectacular weather in San Pablo Bay over the weekend without the winds that plagued Suisun Bay. He said, “Bass fishing was outstanding over the weekend with stripers throughout San Pablo Bay, but sturgeon fishing has slowed in response to the vast number of herring spawns occurring in the bay from the Whaling Station to the Golden Gate.” In addition to the two legal sturgeon and an oversized released by Captain Gordie Hough on the Morningstar, they also landed nine striped bass. For the first time this season, Loch Lomond has obtained live mud shrimp, and Fraser said, “99% of the shrimp were alive and crawling when they arrived via air freight, and I have never seen such quality mud shrimp.” They also have live herring, grass shrimp, and ghost shrimp in the shop. He thought the current week’s tides are “mediocre, but will improve by Friday for sturgeon. Fraser’s sixth edition “Guide to Sturgeon Fishing” is available in many area bait shopw or via mail for $7, plus $2 shipping, from Loch Lomond Live Bait, Loch Lomond Marina, San Rafael 94901. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker went out with 21 anglers Saturday, and they picked up 11 stripers to 5 pounds fishing near China Camp. He made a late run to the Mare Island Rockwall in the afternoon after Captain Gordie Hough of the Morningstar scored two legal sturgeon and released an oversized in the area, but the bite was over after their late arrival. With the run all the way to the edge of the bay, Smith was back at the harbor well after dark in a solid attempt to put his clients onto fish. Smith said, “We caught some live herring near China Camp, and I suicide-hooked a herring in the tail, and it lived all day long, but I didn’t get a hit. We landed some stripers on herring fillets.” The big fish of the day was taken by Jim Copeland of Hillborough.

San Luis Obispo

The San Luis Obispo County ports are limited to sand dab/crab, whale watching, or nature cruises until the April salmon opener. Patriot Sport Fishing out of Port San Luis will be offering sand dab/crab combination trips Wednesdays and Saturdays for $60 per adult and $50 for children 12 and younger. They are selling passes for the rockfish season for $1,000. Whale watching and nature cruises will be held out of Morro Bay Landing and Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay for the next several months. Virg’s Landing is planning a two-day trip on the Black Pearl for February 28 through March 2 for the open rockfish season and bonus white sea bass for $355 per angler — food included. Perch fishing has been outstanding from the beaches, piers, and rocky areas with Berkley Gulp Sand Worms, sand crabs or pile worms.

Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214

OTHERS

Delta/Stockton

Bass ** Striper ** Sturgeon *** Catfish ** Bluegill **

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